Homily 4th Sunday Advent Year C: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
Readings: Micah 5:1-4a; Ps 80:2-3, 15-19; Heb 10:5-10 and Luke 1:39-45
Mary in Advent Message
In this last week of Advent as Christmas draws near, besides the roles of Israel’s prophets and John the Baptists, Mary is another important figure that we want to imitate or pay close attention to. She is the one spoken about by the prophets. She is the humble mother of Christ our Savior an effective high priest and sacrifice (Heb 10:5-10) - born for us at Christmas.
Prophet Micah of Moreshet founded on ancient promise and covenant of hopes, joined a team of other prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Baruch, Zephaniah and spoke about the birth of “she who will give birth” to Christ, the shepherd of the flocks of Israel and the source of shalom (peace), our well-being and prosperity.
The would be mother of Christ stands out in the Gospel infancy narratives as well, fulfilling what had been promised. Mary, a young humble Semitic women. She received and believed the message from Gabriel, God’s angel. Afterwards she sets out to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also pregnant with John the Baptist. John leaped in his mother’s womb and recognized Christ, when Mary greeted Elizabeth. And Elizabeth filled with the Holy Spirit saluted Mary and said,
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” how does this happened to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me.”?
The mystery of Advent! The mystery of John leaping in Elizabeth’s womb; the mystery of the superiority of Christ over John the Baptist! It is the mystery of Elizabeth recognizing Mary as the mother of our Lord and Savior. She is the mother of Christ the great, perfect and superior high priest and sacrifice described also into today’s second reading, the Letter to the Hebrews.
In fact unlike the old Testament, levitical sacrifice offered according to the law of Moses (ps 40) Christ's vocation which will take him to his ultimate sacrifice on the cross is superior and perfect. It is not just on our behalf but it is once and for all. It abolishes all old animal sacrifices. Most importantly, it was offered by Christ with the spirit of total abandonment and obedience response to God his father, “Behold I come to do your will.”
Not far from Mary her mother’s response to the message of the angel, “behold I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to your will (Luke 1:38). So like mother, like son. Christ and Mary knew how to say to God, “behold I come to do you will."
Advent it s time we want to imitate Mary and say to Christ at Christmas, Jesus be born in my heart, in my home and in my neighbors home. Christ be born in my office and work place. Take care of my health, my desire, my studies, and do with me always, whatever you want. And may it be done to me according to your word; your will and not my will!!f
Of course this requires, hope, faith, love and great humility like that of Mary, the mother of Christ.